MAMBO ITALIANO at Laurier Macdonald
We had an amazing couple of days in Montreal earlier this month. On Wednesday, April 3rd, we pulled into Laurier Macdonald, an English high school in the Italian neighbourhood of St Leonard, which also happens to be the setting for MAMBO ITALIANO, the coming-out family comedy co-written by Steve Galluccio based on his fantastically successful stage play of the same name. It is always great to watch the kids get excited about seeing streets and landmarks that they actually know turn up on the big screen and this was no exception. Steve himself spoke to the students afterwards and answered some very pointed questions about the autobiographical nature of the story, such as how he dealt with showing the film to his own family. By way of an answer, Steve told the funny and touching story of the film’s opening night, when he realized that he had not actually told his family that he was gay, and that the screening itself would be his own coming out.
MAMBO ITALIANO co-writer Steve Galluccio talks to students at Laurier Macdonald
The afternoon was rounded out with a screening of another Montreal movie, THE TROTSKY, and an appearance by animator Jonathan Ng, who discussed the way movement, drawing and drama intersect for him in his “martial arts/breakup” short, REQUIEM FOR A ROMANCE.
Animator Jonathan Ng
In the evening, REEL CANADA hosted an extraordinary dinner for the Quebec filmmakers that support our program, including a few we were only just meeting for the first time. Our guests included REEL CANADA alumni Kevin (producer of BON COP/BAD COP) and Jacob Tierney (director of THE TROTSKY), Michel Poulette (director of LOUIS 19: LE ROI DESONDES), Don McKellar (director/writer of LAST NIGHT), and Kevin Duhaney, Daniel Keith Morrison and Tristan D Lalla (cast members from the dance film HOW SHE MOVE), as well as new friends to the program, Louise Archambault (one of the directors of THE NATIONAL PARKS PROJECT) Wiebke von Carolsfeld (director of MARION BRIDGE), and Stéphane Lafleur (editor of MONSIEUR LAZHAR). Telefilm’s Sheila de la Varende was on hand to help with hosting duties.
High school students at REEL CANADA's Cineplex Day
The next day was the Big One: 1,300 kids from across the entire Riverside School Board on the south shore of Montreal gathering at the Cineplex Brossard. (The board was so pleased with our event at Centennial Regional HS last year that dynamo board chair Moira Bell insisted that we do something for the entire district.)
This one really tested our team’s organizational muscle as we juggled different school schedules, bus routes and 3,000 pieces of pizza (thanks to PIZZA PIZZA for the generous help!) but somehow we pulled it off without a hitch.
BON COP/BAD COP director Erik Canuel
Érik Canuel, director of BON COP/BAD COP, spoke to two packed theatres, passionately exhorting the students to be aware of the way Canadian movies were part of their identity. This message – as well as his “colourful” language – got a big rise out of both students and teachers.
THE TROTSKY writer/director Jacob Tierney
In other venues, Jacob Tierney talked about his perennially popular THE TROTSKY, hockey historian Jean-Patrice Martel shared a lot of insight into the historical accuracy of THE ROCKET, and the HOW SHE MOVE actors had their audience screaming with excitement.
HOW SHE MOVE actors Daniel Keith Morrison & Kevin Duhaney
Hockey historian Jean-Patrice Martel answering student questions on THE ROCKET
Thanks to LEARN Quebec for helping to support our Montreal tour, and to the incredible Val McLeod of the Canadian School Boards Association for wrangling every detail into place. We look forward to coming back to Montreal next year.